Zimbabwe fall short despite Kasuza fifty
South Africa Under-19 184 for 8 (de Kock 49, Price 42, Chari 2-5) beat Zimbabwe Under-19 145 for 6 (Kasuza 68, Engelbrecht 2-13) by 39 runs
South Africa Under-19 continued their winning streak with an easy 39-run win over Zimbabwe Under-19 in the first of two Twenty20s despite a valiant effort from Zimbabwe opener Kevin Kasuza, who hit six fours and two sixes to top-score with 68.
South Africa captain Keaton Jennings opted to bat first at Boland park, and was content to offer steady support to the more attacking Quinton de Kock during their 73-run opening stand. Both were dismissed in the same over by Zimbabwe captain Godwill Mamhiyo, and the visitors' slow bowler did a reasonably good job of restricting the South Africans thereafter.
South Africa's innings was bookended by two savage knocks that boosted the total well out of Zimbabwe's reach, however, as No. 3 James Price thrashed eight boundaries in his 42 and No. 10 Chad Fortune cleared the ropes four times in a brutal 11-ball 36. In between those two innings, Zimbabwe's hydra of offspinners had the better of South Africa's middle order, Liberty Nherera, Matthew Bentley and Brian Chari all striking twice.
The Zimbabwean batsmen needed to make full use of the first six overs if they were to push South Africa close, but this was not the case as Chari fell early and Bentley and Kasuza struggled to assert themselves. Bentley managed to score at nearly a-run-a-ball before he offered a caught-and-bowled chance to offspinning allrounder Malcolm Nofal to depart for 23.
The pressure to score quickly mounted on Zimbabwe's middle order, but Kasuza settled into a fluent mode and reached his fifty off 43 balls with four fours and a six. He started to open up after reaching the milestone, hitting three more boundaries before he was caught by Jennings off fast bowler Rabian Engelbrecht for 68 in the 19th over.
Zimbabwe's chase had been a lost cause even before he was dismissed, and despite yet another positive performance from Kasuza - who impressed during the one-day series - South Africa remain firm favourites to wrap up the Twenty20s 2-0 with the second game at Cape Town on Sunday.